Matsiloje Cement MD claims his company was not protected

Matsiloje Cement MD claims his company was not protected
16 April 2019

Racjit Josh, managing director of the closed Matsiloje Portland Cement (MPC) plant, has said that it would be difficult to reopen the plant without government support to restrict cement imports.

The Botswana factory, which is owned by Nortex Textiles, closed in January 2018 due to competition from South African imports and 150 people lost their jobs.

In June last year, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said that it was in the process of introducing restrictions on the importation of cement, but the country still has not implemented the proposals.

"Zimbabwe, Nambia and SA have measures (import restrictions) in place to protect their market while Botswana does not have," said Mr Josh. "When we were in operation we constantly reduced prices until we reached a point where we felt that it was not sustainable to continue running the business. We had hoped that the business environment will change for the bette, but things did go not as we had anticipated."

MPC had an annual turnover of around BWP20m (US$1.89m) and produced 30,000tpa of cement, according to Mr Josh. The company also produced the lime it used for its cement. It sourced other raw materials from Morupule (fly ash) and South Africa. Last year, government said the proposed cement import restrictions would require that 70 per cent of the product be sourced from local manufacturing companies.

Botswana now just has a single running grinding plant, Gaborone Mill, which is operated by South Africa's PPC and produces 0.55Mta of cement.

Published under Cement News